News Column

10 things to help get a job in Islamic finance

February 6, 2014 (Paul McNamara)

Part 2.

Getting a job, any job, in the Islamic finance industry can be tough. But being one step ahead of the competition can help you greatly. Paul McNamara, editorial director of The Islamic Globe, outlines the Top 10 things you need to know to help get a job in Islamic finance.

This article covers the second five things – with the second five things published in part two.

6. Go to as many Islamic finance conferences as you can

People often say that they learn nothing from attending Islamic finance conferences but the reality is that they can be great places to meet people. While the speakers and presenters at the conferences might be worth meeting, you will also get the chance to network like crazy and this is why most people go to them. You should remember to bring heaps of business cards and possibly some copies of your resume.

As someone who is out of work, or lowly paid, you will not want to pay for entrance to these conferences since they could set you back a few thousand dollars, but you are often welcome to hover around the 'exhibition area' where you can meet most people. It is probably best NOT to try to gain entry to the sessions themselves and don't try to gatecrash the lunches, since that would be frowned upon by the organisers but many conference organiser would be happy to see you there since you will make the conference look like a great success. You might want to check beforehand.

These events are also a great way to get your face known and this could help when the job interview finally comes.

7. Social media

No matter how cynical you might be about social media, it can be a useful tool to see if you already know someone who works for an Islamic bank that you are targeting. Equally valuable will be people you know who used to work for an Islamic bank that you are targeting. Spread the word around – join as many Islamic finance groups as you can on the web through the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn. The Islamic Globe has a group you can join.

You might also try to follow some Islamic bank CEOs on Twitter. This can tell you what they think and possibly where they are. I know of at least one CEO of a leading bank who was so flattered that he was being retweeted by a follower that he agreed to meet his follower… You never know, it might lead to a job offer for you.

8. Approach ancillary Islamic finance bodies for guidance

The Islamic finance industry is knee-deep in support organizations like AAOIFI, CIBAFI, IIFM, LMC, IDB, INCEIF et al. It might be worth approaching them and picking their brains to see if they know which Islamic banks and Takaful companies are hiring or expanding. They often have a sense of trends that are forming because they are not at the coal face of the industry, which means that they can often see patterns emerge that they might share with you.

I can assure readers that most of these outfits are populated by people who actually want to help and if they see that you are sincere, then they could help you. Don't be shy.

9. Recruitment sites

The problem with these is that there are so many of them – so be sure to spend your time on ones that are likely to deliver results. Have a look at Laimoon ( if you are in the GCC and you might get a sense of a different way of looking for jobs – whether you are a fresh graduate or someone with a bit more experience.

DO NOT rely on a bulk-standard CV but make sure that you tailor your CV for each and every job you apply for. And include a cover letter. Make sure it has no errors in it and, if possible, get someone else to check it for you. Each application will take time over even if you are doing four per day, but this is your career we are talking about. It is worth the effort.

10. Persistence. Tact. Graft

You will need to keep at it and not be put off by rejections. I have a friend who wallpapered his toilet with all the rejection letters and emails that he got for jobs he had applied for and didn't get. But he kept it up. This industry, more than many others, is still at the start of the growth curve and it is very hard to get on or to get in. Many employers don't know what they want and sometimes you might expect too much from them. Be patient and be tactful, which does not mean be obsequious.

There is only one certainty and that is if you don't try you won't succeed. An employer is not simply going to call you up and offer you a job. It is up to you. But if you keep at it, then you will succeed. It might take a while – it might even take a couple of years but if you are the sort of person the industry needs then you will get there in the end.

Happy hunting!


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Source: Islamic Globe, The (UAE)

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